By THE ONE I am referring to a super awesome space that will make you so happy you will never want to leave… What were you thinking? When looking to move, there are so many factors to consider: location, space, pets, kids, budget. It can become overwhelming but, with the right time and preparation, you can find a great place and make the transition smoothly. Here are a few tips for finding your next place to call home.
1. Know your deal breakers. What are the features you must have in your home? Is it a certain amount of square footage? An outdoor area? A community gym? A short commute to work? Make a list of your top three non-negotiables and use it as a measuring stick when weeding through all of your choices.
2. Be realistic. This goes hand in hand with knowing your deal breakers. If you’re looking to rent a studio in downtown Manhattan, you’ll have a great location to everything, but chances are you’ll have to forgo the washer and dryer. Know what you want and what you’re willing to bend on.
3. Know your budget. This is the not-so-fun part of finding your new place. Your rent should cost no more than 30% of your gross income. Keep in mind that not only will your new place charge rent, but you’ll have a new set of bills including: electric, water, cable, internet, and depending on where you’re living, trash and sewer, too. Factor in these costs when calculating your budget, and ask yourself if it allows you to save for those (inevitable) rainy days.
*Sidenote: Before committing to a new place, call the utility company and ask the average cost of utilities over the past 12 months. This way, you can accurately estimate your utility bill before moving in.
4. Get ready to fork over the dough. Upon moving in to a new home, apartment, flat, closet (just kidding), be sure to have some dough set aside for a security deposit. Some renters are required to put down as much as first and last month’s rent. Also, the utility company can charge you a deposit before turning on your electric, and your cable company will probably want some cash up front, too. Oh, and don’t forget those movers, which usually charge by the hour.
5. Timing is everything. Know when you need to move and plan ahead. If you have a new place picked out, reserve it as far in advance as possible. If you’re flexible on the dates of your move, ask if there are any move-in specials or promotions going on the month of your move-in date. (This is typically applicable to apartment complexes.)
*Sidenote: If you’re looking to rent from a private landlord, write a follow-up letter to the homeowner after viewing the property. Emphasize how lovely the space is and how you plan to take care of it, just as they have. Also mention if you’re looking to rent long-term, as most landlords don’t want to search and interview new tenants each year.
I hope these hints come in handy and if you have any words of wisdom on house hunting, apartment searching, or moving in general, please do share!